Mali is being warned by the European Union about the dangers of deploying Russian Wagner mercenaries.
Due to its involvement in conflicts and human rights violations, the European Union has warned Mali that contracting with the mercenaries of the Russian security organization Wagner Group will harm relations with the EU.
Josep Borrell said yesterday, Monday, after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, that relations between Brussels and Bamako could be severely harmed if Mali’s ruling military junta signed a contract with a Russian group with ties to the Kremlin, according to reports.
The authorities in Mali are discussing the recruitment of Wagner mercenaries, according to Borrell, who added that the information he has today indicates that they have not yet made a decision.
The European official mentioned the Wagner Group’s transgressions in several parts of the world, mentioning the Central African Republic in particular.
Warnings in the Past
Earlier, France and Germany urged Mali’s military council against cooperating with the Russian brigade, while the UN, which has approximately 15,000 peacekeepers in Mali, stated that any relationship between a government and foreign military forces must respect human rights.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian recently stated that any agreement reached between Mali’s current military junta and the Russian Wagner Group would be incompatible with the presence of a French army in the nation.
The leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) also underlined their rejection of the financial authorities’ contract with the Russian business during a summit in Ghana, warning of the consequences for regional security.
According to a French source familiar with the situation, Mali’s ruling military council is considering signing a contract with the Wagner Group to send a thousand Russian mercenary fighters to the country to help form its armed forces and protect its senior officials.
The financial authorities confirmed that they had held discussions with the Russian group, but claimed that no deal had been reached.
The Wagner Group, which fought alongside retired Major General Khalifa Haftar’s forces in Libya and is still present in bases in the country’s east, is accused of committing grave violations, including planting mines in civilian homes, during the attack on Tripoli’s capital between April 2019 and June 2020. Its members fought alongside Syrian regime forces in Syria and are now stationed in Central Africa.
Source: Al Jazeera + agencies